Don’t visit Fulton, Mississippi

Constance McMillen wanted to go to her senior prom with her girlfriend. Her school said no and canceled the event out of nothing more than pure bigotry. Upon the news, donations, scholarships, and invites to privately held, inclusive proms ensued. Soon a judge ruled that Constance’s rights had been violated, but he did not force the school to go forward with the prom for two reasons: 1) it was originally scheduled at a time too soon from when the ruling happened and 2) a private prom to which Constance was to be invited was being hosted. That didn’t stop her town of bigots from excluding her, though.

McMillen tells The Advocate that a parent-organized prom happened behind her back — she and her date were sent to a Friday night event at a country club in Fulton, Miss., that attracted only five other students. Her school principal and teachers served as chaperones, but clearly there wasn’t much to keep an eye on.

“They had two proms and I was only invited to one of them,” McMillen says. “The one that I went to had seven people there, and everyone went to the other one I wasn’t invited to.”

Last week McMillen asked one of the students organizing the prom for details about the event, and was directed to the country club. “It hurts my feelings,” McMillen says.

Two students with learning difficulties were among the seven people at the country club event, McMillen recalls. “They had the time of their lives,” McMillen says. “That’s the one good thing that come out of this, [these kids] didn’t have to worry about people making fun of them [at their prom].”

To make things worse, there’s actually a Facebook fan page called Constance quit yer cryin. Here are the sort of comments from her fellow students (comments that are now buried under posts from the decent people who have discovered this bigotry):

Mitchell Henderson: lulz rug munchers are hilarious. Come join me in hell, there’s ipods all around for dance parties. As long as you bring someone to scissor with.

Melody Carol: JAlthough, she asked and they said no, she should have just stfu and dealt with it. The school did not need to cancel the prom to shift attention from here. That’s just gay.

Brittany Kay Brown: jeremy, that’s your fault for not coming out of the closet. IAHS is not a bigoted school. This whole town is based on Christianity.

Caleb Waddle: i just wish she would shut up and quit makeing the freakin county stupid you say well its there fault but since when did the public do anything to you just shut the freak up already.

Traci Taylor: Carnathan who wants to c 2 girls makn out…especially one of them thats parents are totally against it.

Comments via PZ.

We hate you so much we won’t even let you dance with your friends

Constance McMillen is a gay high school student at Itawamba County Agricultural High School in Mississippi. She was going to go to her prom with her girlfriend, but the school objected. The ACLU quickly got involved.

The district announced Wednesday it wouldn’t host the April 2 prom. The decision came after the American Civil Liberties Union demanded that officials change a policy banning same-sex prom dates because it violated students’ rights. And the ACLU said the district not letting McMillen wear a tuxedo violated her free expression rights.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Oxford to force the school district to sponsor the prom and allow McMillen to bring whom she chooses and wear what she wants.

This is an astounding level of bigotry. Rather than allow a student to go to a prom with her date of the same sex, the school district actually believes it is better to ruin everyone’s biggest senior moment next to graduation.

Of course, they aren’t going to take the blame.

A school board statement said it wouldn’t host the event in Fulton, “due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events” but never mentioned McMillen or her girlfriend, who also is a student at the school.

There is often a tremendous amount of arrogance floating around the egos of those who have petty control over others, but this really takes the cake. [D]istractions to the educational process? What are these people on? Did they consume large quantities of alcohol before writing this? Was it all hard stuff?

The fact is – and this is the silver lining – the district recognizes that they will lose any lawsuit against them which challenges a ban on same sex dating. They do not have the right to ban any such thing. Upon recognition of this obvious fact, they have sought to maintain getting their childish little way by dirty means: it’s high school; everyone knows what is happening with everyone else. When they tried to blame the victim for their ineptitude and lack of concern for equality, they knew exactly what they were doing.

…the 18-year-old lesbian high school senior reluctantly returned to campus to some unfriendly looks, she said.

“Somebody said, ‘Thanks for ruining my senior year.'” McMillen said.

There was never any doubt this would happen. The district ‘leaders’ went ahead and ruined a significant moment in the lives of an entire high school class and then had the gall to blame an innocent student. They know the law disagrees with their stance. They know McMillen has a right to attend her prom with her girlfriend. They just don’t know why they’re morally wrong.

The school district had said it hoped a privately sponsored prom could be held. McMillen said if that happens, she’s sure she’ll be excluded.

“It’s a small town in Mississippi, and it’s run by an older generation with money. Most of them are more conservative and they don’t agree with it,” she said.

Okay, they topped themselves. I thought just canceling the prom was bigoted enough. Now the school is actually encouraging others to set up a private event. Why would a private event not be the same supposed distraction? Why does location matter? Why doesn’t the school want to host an event they can monitor with security for the students?

Fulton Mayor Paul Walker said he supports the school district’s decision and knew of no private efforts to host the prom.

“I think the community as a whole is probably in support of the school district,” Walker said of the town of about 4,000.

Oh. I guess if a lot of people agree, then it must be okay. It’s not like the school district is on its way to an assured legal defeat due to its bigotry or anything.

But wait! There’s more. As always, the arbitrary religious figure must be paraded out.

Southside Baptist Church Pastor Bobby Crenshaw said he’s seen the South portrayed as “backwards” on Web sites discussing the issue, “but a lot more people here have biblically based values.”

“But”? “But“?